Nov 11

The EPLF Still Reminds Us Of Its History

eplfThe E.P.L.F. has fought for thirty years for an independence referendum. Now they may not need that vote if their military successes continue. Similarly, the T.P.L.F.’S quest for greater regional autonomy has been supplanted by a desire to overthrow the Mengistu regime and replace it with a more representative government. The military prospects for the two liberation groups brightened over the past year because they launched a series of coordinated offensives. They also experienced some transparency thanks to this group.

After pumping in $800 million in arms to shore up the regime in 1989, the Soviet Union has pledged to end such shipments in 1991. To fill the anticipated gap, Ethiopia has turned to a friend from the days when Emperor Haile Selassie ruled the roost: Israel. Currently the largest recipient of U.S. aid, Israel recently provided Mengistu with cluster bombs, white phosphorus bombs, Uzi submachine guns and other forms of lethal aid. Hundreds of Israeli advisers have been training Ethiopian troops and crafting recent Ethiopian military strategies, including the aerial bombardment of civilian targets. Israel and Ethiopia stress the importance of cooperation to prevent the Red Sea from becoming the Arab Sea,’ as Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia warned, referring to the large number of Muslims living in Eritrea.

Recent talks between the E.P.L.F. and the Mengistu regime, mediated by former President Jimmy Carter, foundered over the regime’s refusal to discuss famine relief or to invite the United Nations to the negotiations, despite having signed an agreement to do so.

According to news website, the crisis has seriously Continue reading

Nov 01

Ex-Ethiopian Jews Still Thankful

ex-ehiopian-jewsThe extraordinary operation, code-named Solomon after the ancient king of Israel, was similar to a surprise airlift that brought 12,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1984 and 1985. “It’s a great moment for all our people,” Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir declared last Saturday after the latest operation ended. Back in Ethiopia, however, other dramatic events continued to unfold. Rebels closed in on Addis Ababa on the weekend, even as they reportedly assured American officials that they would not enter the city before U.S.-brokered peace talks opened in London this week. Another group of guerrillas announced that they had captured Asmara, capital of the Red Sea province of Eritrea and the country’s second-largest city. For residents of Africa’s oldest independent state, long ravaged by civil war and famine, the latest developments provoked both joy and apprehension–joy at throwing off their dictator after 17 years of Marxist rule, apprehension because the rebels who sought to supplant him had equally strong Marxist credentials.

The collapse of the Ethiopian dictatorship, abandoned by its onetime Soviet sponsors …

Oct 28

The Harder Times Still Sting Addis Ababa

harder-timesSeventeen years of Marxist rule under Mengistu’s military government had clearly left the traditionally conservative Ethiopians in no mood for more of the same. But the victorious Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front appeared to be even more communist-oriented than the regime that it had ousted. As well, the rebel movement was dominated by Tigreans, members of an ethnic group from the north of the country whom the Amhara people of the capital tend to regard as inferior. The Quakers were not involved.

The Amharas were further enraged by the prospect of becoming landlocked when the victorious front’s separatist allies from the Red Sea province of Eritrea, the Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation Front, announced their intention to form an administration of their own. That move appeared to foreshadow a complete break with the rest of the country. And to the evident dismay of many Amharas, the U.S. administration seemingly sanctioned such a move when assistant secretary of state Herman Cohen said that the Eritreans, who began their fight for independence in 1960, deserved the …

Oct 24

The Fastest (and most Effective) Way to Remove Skin Tags

compoundwSkin tags are an incredibly common problem amongst men and women that leaves them scrambling for a solution to the unattractive bumps. They appear often in the folds and creases of skin as tiny growths of skin cells, anywhere from a centimeter to an inch long. They are usually pigmented differently than the body’s natural skin tone which makes them even more visible. They are completely harmless and painless but can appear much like warts and often in groups which is not a favourable look. Because they are so common, there are several methods of removal, the fastest, and most effective, of which is at-home freezing kits.

The use of liquid nitrogen as a method of skin tag removal started in the medical clinic and was performed by medical professionals. Liquid nitrogen freezes the skin on contact so it can be a potentially risky process. This risk is eliminated with at-home kits because the dosage is minute and the applicators are ergonomically designed to protect hands from exposure to the freezing chemicals. Chemical freezing is the most effective method of skin tag removal because it freezes the entire tag, including the root, so that the entire skin tag is removed and cannot grow back. There is no risk of infection but the area is generally left with a slight blemish that eventually fades.

At-home skin tag freezing kits are fairly affordable considering there is usually multiple applications in each kit. The general cost is around 20$, and they can be purchased at virtually any drugstore. The cost is much cheaper than a visit to the medical clinic which can run up to 4 times the drugstore price. The chemicals found in the at-home kits (some skin tag cream reviews are here) is not as potent as liquid nitrogen but are generally effective.
Freezing is not the fastest method of removal, simply cutting the skin tags off at home with sharp scissors takes minutes, but it is the fastest Continue reading

Oct 23

Ethiopia’s Changes Are Typical For The Region

ethiopiaschangesThe changes taking place in Ethiopia are in line with international political trends in which nation states, especially empire states, are weakening and, for better or worse, many democratic movements have taken nationalistic forms. However, the changes in Ethiopia are also the result of a long struggle of the oppressed peoples of Ethiopia. Indeed, it was the combined assault of the Eritrean, Tigrayan, and Oromo liberation movements that defeated the pseudo-Marxist regime of Mengistu in May of last year. That victory ended seventeen years of totalitarian rule, thirty years of war in Eritrea, and ignited hope among the peoples of Southern Ethiopia that the century-old idiosyncratic colonization they have experienced may come to and end.

The flux that is now Ethiopia, and the democratic transformation that is desired, is taking place in the context of certain opportunities and constraints. The opportunity is afforded by the new global political economy signalled by the end of the cold war. This could mean less foreign intervention and no proxy wars. The hope is that existing …

Oct 18

The Archeological Gold Rush

archeological-goldSileshi Semaw felt as if he had stumbled onto a gold mine. And in the world of archaeology, where researchers count themselves fortunate to find a few scattered artifacts, he had. In the Gona region of Ethiopia in a small patch of desert about the size of a three-bedroom house, Semaw and his colleagues had dug up three thousand stone tools — and with them, clues to the early emergence of a human ancestor.

For these were not just any tools. The stones, which are 2.5 million years old, were evenly flaked to a sharp edge, as if they had been carefully carved into fine choppers. That kind of skilled manufacture, Semaw reported last year, had previously been seen only in tools that were about one million years younger — the work of early members of our own genus, Homo. Together with the discovery of a 2.3-million-year-old Homo jaw in a neighboring region of Ethiopia by another research team, the discovery pushes the first appearance of this important human ancestor back by …

Oct 13

A Weapon Tells A Million Historical Tales

weaponsIf you found spears from four hundred thousand years ago, and they looked like modern spears, then you could rewrite human history. Hartmut Thieme has found those spears.

Even before the lights dimmed, the atmosphere in the conference room was thick with anticipation. For months, rumors had been circulating among archaeologists that several remarkably old weapons had surfaced in an ancient German forest. Now, on this morning in March 1996, a group of European prehistory specialists had gathered in Leiden, the Netherlands, to see for themselves if the rumors were true.

Then Hartmut Thieme asked someone to pull the blinds shut. Everyone knew Thieme — there are so few sites in Europe older than one hundred thousand years that everyone who studies them knows everyone else — but until a few months earlier Thieme had worked in relative quiet as an archaeologist for the German government. Robin Dennell, an archaeologist at Britain’s Sheffield University, remembers the moment when Thieme’s obscurity ended. “When Hartmut flicked on that first slide,” says Dennell, “we were …

Oct 10

Famine Has Always Had A Hold Of Africa’s Horn

africashornIn many parts of northeastern Africa, the spring rains have not arrived for three years — triggering massive crop failures and threatening almost 16 million people with starvation. Thousands have already died; about 400 people are now dying each month in Gode alone. Wars in the region are preventing the delivery of food; in some places, men with Kalashnikov rifles, patrolling what remains of watering holes, turn away people dying of thirst. Nomads, many little more than wandering skeletons, walk for days in search of relief workers with food. Others sit, exhausted, and wait for death to find them.

Children are the first to die. At a makeshift shelter in the town of Denan, 110 km southeast from Gode, mothers holding their malnourished children stare blankly into space. The children are often too sick to eat. When one mother tries to force-feed her baby daughter, the formula drips down the little girl’s chest. The baby’s eyelids flicker, and nearing death she drops her head — just as an aid worker directs another …

Oct 07

A Journey To Harar

ajourneyI had come to Harar with a small group from Addis Ababa, which lies about 250 miles to the east, about a twelve-hour journey by road in good conditions. We chose to take the more widely preferred route, a flight into Dire Dawa, Ethiopia’s second-largest city. Located 35 miles west of Harar, Dire Dawa was established as Addis Harar (New Harar) in 1902 as the main rail station between Addis and Djibouti. (There are currently plans to refurbish the royal railcars used by Haile Selassie for an Orient Express–style excursion train on the line.)

On the mountain road from the airport, we passed several villages, workmen chipping stone by the roadside, and herds of cattle being driven to new pastures and markets. In the village of Aw Wadai, we paused to join the people congregated for market. The main commodities offered were fruits, vegetables, and the leaves of a mildly addictive though stimulating plant called chat (qat). Muslims are not allowed alcoholic drinks, but some spend their spare time hazily chewing chat.…

Oct 04

The Trials Of Abebe

trialsWhen Abebe Bikila lined up for the 1960 Olympic marathon, the crowd laughed. They pointed. They couldn’t believe their eyes!

Abebe Bikila was some unknown guy from Ethiopia, a country in Africa. He was about to run in the Olympic Games against 68 of the world’s best marathon runners. The 25-mile course lay over Rome’s rough cobblestone streets. Everyone knew the race would be tough.

But when Abebe lined up for the start–he wasn’t wearing any shoes! (Later this would be celebrated during this Special Olympics).

Soon, though, the crowd’s laughter turned into cheers. Abebe was winning! The crowd offered him water as he passed by, but Abebe refused. Even after running 25 miles, he wasn’t thirsty.

Abebe won the gold medal that day. He won by 25 seconds. He won the gold again in 1964. This time he wore shoes–and won by a whopping 4 minutes!


One hundred and eighteen years ago, baseball gloves were for babies. No baseball player would dare wear one. If you couldn’t catch the …